SMS marketing for holiday shoppers
The rush of holiday shopping is nearing its peak this week. As people wade through the frenzy and chaos of trying to find the perfect gift, a text message from your store might be just what they need. At least that’s what a study form MarketLive might be telling us.
Their study focuses on mobile users and what it is they want from retailers this shopping season. The results are encouraging – and exciting – for any retailer who connects with customers using a mobile device.
While the study covers many different aspects of mobile marketing, I want to focus here on the ones related to SMS. After all, there are a few days left before Christmas, which is plenty of time to get together an SMS campaign to reach those last minute shoppers. But some of the other aspects of mobile examined by Marketlive would take a bit longer to implement. Unless of course you already have aisle maps available in an app for your store. You don’t? Then let’s get back to what you can do with SMS.
People are ready to give it up
One of the hardest things about SMS marketing is getting the information you need from your customers – their mobile number at a minimum. People are generally guarded about giving out their personal numbers, but that might be changing. MarketLive found that 55% of people surveyed felt comfortable sharing their information and preferences with marketers – if they got something in return. In general people thought it was worth sharing when doing so offered them convenience and personalised product recommendations.
“Text alerts are now an accepted way to receive coupons and promotions,” says Ken Burke, CEO of Marketlive , “and personalised product suggestions based on prior purchases or online viewing patterns are now expected.”
That last sentence is a pretty bold statement. While there’s a convenience factor to getting personalised suggestions, there’s also a creepy factor when it’s obvious the suggestion came because the company knows what you’ve been doing online. It’s a fine line really, but the data appears to show more and more people are accepting what good it can do, rather than worry what can be learned about them. Privacy is losing out to convenience. That’s a good thing for marketers, as long as they protect and manage the data they gather appropriately (or else be subject to a PR and legal nightmare).
Another trend the study found is how text messages impact in-store shopping. For example, 78% of respondents are likely to visit a store after they receive an SMS alert prior to their going to the shops. The article on the study doesn’t make it clear whether those 78% were already planning to go shopping or if the messages prompted the shopping trip, but either way, sending an SMS message got those people into the store.
Another 69% want in-store text messages sent to them. This means they’re comfortable with the store knowing they are there, and then triggering a special text message for them while they are shopping. This is a special case of localised SMS marketing that can be implemented in a variety of ways.
Happy accidents, or localised messaging, result in 62% of people making a purchase after receiving an offer sent to their mobile while they are in the store. That’s an impressive number for sure, but there’s no breakdown of how the offer was received – by signing up to an SMS marketing list, by simply entering the store (localised messaging) or if they got it coincidentally on their visit. But if you’re able to send SMS messages to people while they are visiting your store, you’ve got a great shot at making a sale.
In the few days left before Christmas why not set up an SMS marketing campaign of your own? If there are people in your store, you’ll certainly increase the chances they’ll buy something if you send them a message. And don’t forget, you’ll increase the chance that they’ll even come to your store too.
81% of mobile phone users use SMS or text messaging and 90% read text messages within three minutes of receipt. But it's not just a convenient way to chat with friends, fix a rendez-vous or remind people to do things; it has also become a powerful marketing tool for businesses large and small, national or global.
In many ways, SMS messaging is so commonplace people don’t think about it. They just do it. For example, using SMS for mobile marketing in retail is a fairly standard use case whether you’re a company or the consumer. But there are always exceptions – those who innovate when it seems there’s nothing new to be had. Here are two examples of companies from the US using SMS in ways no one else is – yet.
Sometimes bloggers or journalists get a bit carried away. They see some data or fact, and run off to declare there’s a trend you need to know about. The latest one I’ve seen is all about how to reach the generation of “cashless shoppers”. The argument goes that you need to use SMS messaging to reach customers because they are all shopping online – where you obviously can’t pay in cash.
SMS marketing is still one of the most effective marketing channels available to businesses but is often overlooked in the pursuit of newer, more digitised technologies. When you include SMS marketing as part of the marketing mix, you're in a far greater position to increase engagement with your campaign, helping you generate a greater return on your investment. As with all channels, there are certain ways you can ensure your campaign is more effective, by following these simple steps.
While brevity might be one of the keys to good advertising, perhaps the most important is to make sure your message reaches the right people. The goal of targeted marketing is not to bombard so many people that some will inevitably listen, but rather to target and nail down your core demographic.
Are you looking to grow your business? Get more customers? Have larger profits? Of course you are. Isn't every business looking to improve, grow and generate more sales? More and more businesses are realising how SMS messaging can help them do all those things. But it's nice to have some facts to back up what most people seem to assume is true.
So many of us are used to having our mobiles around nearly 24 hours a day that it’s easy to forget it’s still a growing industry. And though SMS has been around for over two decades, the ways we use it and people’s willingness to use it continues to grow. So for this blog I picked out five facts about mobile and SMS that really make the case that SMS for business has come of age. Let’s see if you agree.